Just. Blown. Away.


I am in awe.

Just blown away.

Last night, as I explained here, I had an opportunity to go and tell about how incredible of a loving God we serve, the healing power of a resurrected Jesus, and the incredible blessings of seeing the invisible workings through the Holy Spirit in my life.

God showed up and you could feel the gentle whooing of the Holy Spirit as I testified to what God has been up to in my family’s life. It was HIS night to shine and get all the glory!

2 Corinthians 3:8
“Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life?”

As I was preparing to share with these ladies this week, God brought a whopper of encouragement down the pipeline. He knew I needed to hear prior to going to this women’s event about how He uses the act of me sharing the good, the bad and the ugly – would honor God and Him be glorified. My heavenly Father so many times tells me, “Don’t hold back…tell it all – I will get the GLORY!”

I am so glad He gives me the strength to be this bold.

Well, because I have done this very thing…others were impacted. This week, I received an email of a story where my words of encouragement through this blog – spurred another precious woman to tell her story. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Let me back up and give you a bit of background to what I am about to share.

Last summer, while we were in Houston,Texas, I had gone to visit a friend that God had miraculously put into our path. Kevin was resting after having received a weeks worth of chemo and I was just needing a change of scenery. Evelyn was hosting a baby shower and wanted me to meet some of her friends. So I went.

I was sitting at her kitchen table meeting the women that had poured into her life. I had heard the stories and wanted to meet these women.

They got it. The whole Jesus healing thing, and the powerful workings of the Holy Spirit was evident as we talked. I needed to just sit and soak with them awhile and learn more. Each one of them had God stories that would blow your mind.

Candace was at the table and quiet. She nodded her head and agreed with all that the women were saying. She had a story too.

We had many Jesus-story-telling-moments right there in the middle of the baby shower. {Funny how God works!}

Candace started following my blog. She was encouraged by the stories I told here.

Words that I was writing in the last couple of posts was beginning to resonate with her. God was calling her out to dive into what God was calling her to do and not just drive through waiting on the opportunities to come find her.

She just started attending the incredible church that we went to while in Houston at MD Anderson. God immediately began nudging her to share her story with her community group.

And she did…with the nudging by what God was teaching her through my words. {humbling!}

Today, I wanted to share her story with you. Make sure you read it all! Her story is the most heart wrenching story I’ve heard in awhile, but God’s beauty of a loving Savior is what shines through.

As Candace told me when I asked if I could share it…she said as long as you tell them that it’s God’s story – not mine. He wrote it.

Isn’t that what He is doing in all of our lives? Writing His Story.

Do me a favor though…share it with others. Through email, Facebook, twitter, however way you can figure out how. I want God to get the glory for this one. It’s His story.

Just pure redemption and healing.

Here is her testimony…

Most kids, when they are little say their prayers at night. They ask for things like trucks, dolls, things like that. I prayed a lot when I was little. I prayed and prayed, night after night, day after day, that God would let me die. I just wanted it to end.

I can’t remember a beginning, only that every day, I was abused by my father and later by my brother. At first, my father told me if I let him hurt ME, he would not hurt my little brother. So, I let him, year after year, until he lied. He hurt my little brother anyway. Then, he told me that he would not hurt my mother. Saving HER became my life’s purpose. As a little girl, I became the protector of my family.

My mother was a schizophrenic and my father a pedophile. Our home was not only spiritually black, but also physically black as all of the windows were covered with foil to keep out the light. My mother was afraid people could see inside our house. She was also afraid they would try to come in. So, on the windows were locks and over the foil were heavy, blackout shades and over those, heavy drapes. To me, it felt like prison. I felt locked-in, trapped. Inside our house were many animals- 15-20 cats, dogs, a rabbit, a turtle. There was a heavy stench of urine, which filled the air. My mother was also a hoarder. So, there were piles and piles of things- everywhere. But, on the outside, where people could see, our yard was perfect. Not a weed, not a leaf laid on the meticulously, raked desert ground on our acre of land. We lived in the middle of nowhere in a small desert town where the houses were far apart. This made it even harder to run away. There was nowhere to go- just miles of hot, barren desert.

As a child, I knew little of God other than the “jesus” my parents used with outside people to cover their lies. I lied too. My life inside my house was so ugly, so dark that I knew if anyone ever found out the truth, they could never love me. Inside of me, I felt like a filthy rag that had been used and used to the point…it should be thrown away, I should be thrown away. So I lied to everyone. I wanted them to think I was good- I was normal. I worked hard in school and made A’s. My teachers liked me. I got along with the other kids. No one knew the truth. No one knew what I really was, the things I did, the way I lived.

As I grew up, continuously sick from infections and pain, my heart grew hard. It was a hardened pride that only I could hold our family together. My brothers and mother would try to commit suicide and I would come in as the nurse, keeping everyone alive, trying to make everything all right. I was the peacemaker, but I was alone inside, surrounded by 3 people who used me and one who never hurt me, but who I could not protect from the evil.

God was gracious, despite my hardened heart, to keep me protected during those difficult years. He brought older Christian women who befriended me and took me to church, listened to me, just spent time with me. Most were teachers who had compassion on me. Their care soothed my longing for nurturing and the time in church kept me hearing the Word of God even though it did not penetrate my heart. I tried though. I “accepted Jesus into my heart” many times, waiting to be changed instantly into something else, someone else. But, there was no change. So, I used Christianity as another way to cover the truth of how I was living. I was very persuasive, so people believed me, just like they believed my parents. It was easy to lie, yet I so wanted someone to see through the lies and rescue me.

At 20, an older married friend offered to rescue me from my home. I jumped. The very next day, I left home with only a bag of clothes and a few dollars. This couple said they were Christians too, but I quickly found out I had jumped out of the frying pan and into a fire of another kind of abuse- spiritual abuse and legalism. I didn’t know what it was then. I was so glad to be out of my “hell” that anything seemed better. I went along with them, memorizing Scripture, doing my daily Bible studies, going to church, following all of their rules, but inside…I hated God.

By 24, I could not take it anymore. I was isolated from all family, other relatives and all of my friends, as this woman had convinced me to end every relationship on the grounds they were not “biblical”. I followed her, with her family around the country, moving several times with the Air Force. Yet, I was never “good” enough for her though I tried to follow every rule. I had perfected the art of faking, lying for many years, yet it was never enough for her. She held me in a different prison, threatening constantly to end our relationship, if I wouldn’t “repent”. I verbally apologized and would try so hard to DO what the Bible said, but I failed again and again. No matter how many Scriptures I memorized, I could not DO them. I could not LIVE them. Finally, I just gave up.

I remember looking up at the ceiling of my apartment and telling God to, “LEAVE ME ALONE!” I was done. I was alone. I wanted to die. “Why don’t you just let me die?!!!”, I would scream at Him. I was sick of the lies, sick of Christianity, sick of a god who did nothing to help me be good. I blamed everyone else. I justified my own behavior by all that I had been through and by how “I” had survived.

For 1 year, I lived alone in life. I worked and came home in despair. I would spend my weekends at the movies since I had no television. I would go to the gym and exercise for hours. I could not make the pain in my very core, end. It hurt so much. I hurt so much. I felt worthless, ugly, black, lonely, rejected, abandoned, used. God did not give up. He pursued me with a jealous love. He would speak so clearly to my heart, asking me questions like, “Do you want to BE that bitter woman you see on that movie screen?” “LEAVE ME ALONE!” I would scream back in my heart. One night, I angrily questioned God, asking Him, “Why do you send people to Hell? What kind of a loving God does that?!!!” “Where were you all of those years? Why didn’t you kill me and end my suffering? Did you get some kind of kick out of my pain?” Oh, my bitter, angry heart. And oh, the deep, deep, love of Jesus…..

He did answer me. He told me, “I do not send people to Hell. They deny me and choose Hell. People love their sin and they follow it rather than follow Me.” Then, He showed me a verse in Corinthians “For He who knew NO SIN, became sin, on our behalf, that we might BECOME the righteousness of God in Christ”. Seriously? I could BECOME righteous? How could that be possible? Then, He brought me to 1st John, “And in Him there is NO DARKNESS AT ALL”. No darkness? At ALL? How could that be? All I had ever known was darkness.

On December 14, 1997, after spending a very long night at the movies, I came back to my empty apartment and lay across the bed, crying. I fell asleep around 2am. Around 6am, God woke me up. Suddenly, my heart was tender. My sins, one after another, flooded my mind- lying, manipulation, anger, bitterness, selfishness, pride, hate. I realized for the very first time, that “I” had sinned against a HOLY God. I knew 1st John 1:9 and I started confessing. It took 2 hours, as I sat up in bed, telling Jesus I was so sorry for hurting Him, for grieving Him with my hateful words and rebellious behavior. I talked and talked to Him until I was done. And, then I asked Him, “Can you make ME righteous? Can you make ME clean? Will you teach me to trust? I don’t know how.” I thought of the verse that talks about the “height and length and depth and breadth of God”…I asked Him if I could KNOW Him like THAT. I didn’t want the “fake Christianity”. I wanted the “real thing”. I got up from bed that morning, new. I was new! Different! My empty heart had been filled up to overflowing. There was hope where there had only been despair. There was life where there had only been death. I was overwhelmed with a strong desire to sing! So I did. I sat on the couch and sang songs to Jesus. I knew He was listening. I remember that first day so well. Every hour I told Him, “I cannot trust You for a lifetime. I don’t know how. That seems like such a long time. But I can trust you for an hour.” So I did. That day, I trusted Him one hour at a time. Hours became days and days have become years. Last December was 15 years He has held me tight and not let go of my wandering heart. He has taught me what love is. He has taught me what is truly good. He has given me a tender, compassionate heart for others. He has filled me with a hope that anchors my very core. He is light when things get dark. He fills my mind with Psalms that He is My Shepherd, My Keeper, The Guardian of my soul, My Light, My Salvation, My Comforter.

Over the years, He has done many, many things to heal me from my past. He has taken away, piece by piece, the layers of shame. He has given me courage and supernatural strength to face the realities of what happened to me and the blessed opportunities to encourage other wounded hearts that there is a HOPE- Jesus. He has asked me to do very difficult things, like give my testimony to complete strangers and I have obeyed, because I trust Him. I know His ways are good. I know that He loves in a greater way than I can ever comprehend. I know that someone here needs to hear this. He loves you. There is no ugly too ugly for God. There is no darkness too dark for Jesus. He overcomes the darkness. He fills up the empty. He carries those who have fallen. He is GRACE. It is His KINDNESS that brings us to repentance. He is not waiting to hammer you with rules and regulations. He is waiting to HOLD you and HEAL you from your sin. He LOVES you, each one of you, to your very core.

Thank you so much Candace for being willing to open up and share about the healing and love you have received from Jesus.

If you were touched by this story then please share in the comments your thoughts. God has a powerful ministry lined up for Candace and your words might be the next ones that spur her on.

Let’s blow up these comments section!

I love each and every one of you out there. Whether I know you or not, your prayers and words this week and even throughout this journey of Strong Tower has been many days what puts a perk in my step or even makes me take the next step.


amy-signature #2


  1. People can argue lots of things and disbelieve scripture. When you hear a testimony like this from Candace, there is no way to refuse the Awesome Power of God! Nothing the world has to offer can repair a persons mind, soul and body after going through what she did. But God can take all those broken pieces and make such a beautiful person! Amy, thank you for sharing such a powerful testimony!

  2. Candace, a hand maiden, hand picked by the Lord Himself. Chosen to be a royal daughter, pure, holy and glorious to her Father. Beautified by worship, cloaked in righteousness.
    Amy, thank you for allowing Candace space to tell her story. He is nowhere near finished with us yet and I can hardly imagine the depths,heights and lengths of the love He is showing us. May we walk there, in the deep. May you continue strong Amy, as you share your story of healing, love, mercy and compassion. I bless you.

  3. Candace, a hand maiden, hand picked by the Lord Himself. Chosen to be a royal daughter, pure, holy and glorious to her Father. Beautified by worship, cloaked in righteousness.
    Amy, thank you for allowing Candace space to tell her story. He is nowhere near finished with us yet and I can hardly imagine the depths,heights and lengths of the love He is showing us. May we walk in there, in the deep. May you continue strong Amy, as you share your story of healing, love, mercy and compassion. I bless you.

  4. What an incredible testimony of God’s love and compassion! Candace, thank you for sharing your faith-story. From the darkness to the legalism, I’m certain many people can relate to your story in some way. As a teacher, it makes me look at my students differently–only God knows the struggles some of them face daily. I pray I can show the love and compassion they need, to see the hope we have in Jesus.
    God bless you! And thanks, Amy, for sharing!

  5. Candace is the most kind and giving person that I have ever known. She is a wonderful friend and a wonderful person. She shared this information about her childhood with me a few years ago, and the fact that such a wonderful and giving person can survive such a life with so much goodness in her heart proves to me that God does exist. I’m grateful that candace came into my life and for being able to call Candace my friend.

  6. Wow…Thank you for sharing. the darkness that Satan brings can only be lifte by God’s grace and light. I pray Candace continues to shed the light of our Lord to others that feel trapped. Blessings to both of you.

  7. I love how our God is able to heal one, His chosen one, of such a horrible experience. He has healed emotionally in such an amazing way. These healings we don’t always hear about because people aren’t always open to share those awful memories, but God is writing the story, and He deserves the glory for the end. Thank you Candace for being transparent with us. Thank you Amy for sharing. May God bless you both for glorifying His name.

  8. Thanks Amy for sharing, Thanks Candice for sharing – there’s a ripple effect when we allow God to use us. My heart weeps for the pain and weeps for JOY that you were still able to hear God’s voice through all you’d been through in life, Candice. Please continue to share your journey, scary to say its happening more than we know. I pray that God opens our eyes to be the body of Christ he wants was to be; whether its praying for young ladies, encouraging words or taking someone to church like those women in your life. To God be the Glory, may he continue to bless you both.

  9. When I read how God has worked in Candace’s life, He told me, “My children don’t just survive, They THRIVE!” I have seen the Lord work His mighty hand in Amy’s, Kevin’s and their children’s lives, and they thrive- on the mountain tops and even in the valleys. And now Candace- she is thriving in the Lord! I have received many blessings and words of encouragement through this blog from and Amy and now Candace. Thank you for opening your hearts to us on this blog. May you both continue to receive His blessings! All the honor and praise goes to our Lord!

  10. “Thank you”, to each and every precious person who has decided to take a moment to write and even to those who haven’t. It is a heavy story and I can certainly understand not knowing what to say in response. It is the first time I have gone “public” with what God has done in my life. He is such a tender, loving, merciful God. I praise Him for how He sustains us through the darkness. I love Psalm 139- “And even the darkness is NOT dark to Him. It is as bright as the day”… He sees all- even when we are hiding from Him. He sees and is gently reaching for our hand. Your words of encouragement are giving me strength. This week I am experiencing great spiritual attacks and am staying focused on His Word- what is TRUE. Satan is so full of lies! And, he loves to hit me below the belt. So, thank you. This testimony will be published on a larger scale this Wednesday and will be read by who knows how many people. May even just ONE who is considering ending their precious life, stop, and consider the God who comes to bring truth and LIFE!!! Please be in prayer for this to reach the exact ones for whom He has intended. Blessings, Candace

  11. This reminds me of my husbands favorite verse – the “him”=Satan
    Revelation 12:11
    New International Version (NIV)

    11 They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;

    Thank you, Candace, for wielding your testimony as a weapon against Satan.

  12. Thank you for sharing this brave woman’s story and please thank her for willing obeying God in sharing as well. I don’t have the kind of darkness this woman does but I think we all have something that is darkness for us. Something that consumes our happiness and peace at some point or another. I know someone that I plan to share this with who dwells on their past mistakes and feels unworthy of God sometimes because of it. I have thought of this woman’s testimony a few times this week myself and it has lifted me up. Thank you both for sharing. God bless

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